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The marvels of stick technology

From The Editor

Speak softly but carry a big stick.”

This iconic line by President Theodore Roosevelt is deemed by history scholars to mean that people should avoid aggression but be ready to use force if needed.

I find it is also useful advice for photographers.

I’ll admit that I was not too confident about my sports photography a few weeks ago when Marilyn told me she would be leaving.

I’ve taken pictures at a football or volleyball game here or there, but my shooting style might be best described as ‘keep hitting the shutter for an hour and you might get a few usable photos.’

I’m exaggerating. A bit.

The Citizen uses DSLR cameras with multiple lenses and dozens upon dozens of settings- all of which are intimidating to someone who just wants to know how to make a volleyball look like a circle and not a smudge.

I immediately found wisdom in a much more common idiom: Practice makes perfect.

Okay, perfect is definitely an overreach but taking photos in several fast paced games gave me a lot more confidence and people were getting a lot less blurry on the field.

This leads into last week when I realized we had a few cameras to choose from and found a lens and camera I liked a lot better. I turned the device over appreciatively and noticed the notch that can be found on every camera in our office. I saw our tripod and monopod in the corner and shrugged. I screwed the monopod into the camera and realized something quickly. My hands shake.

Years ago, top scientists must have realized that people can become nervous or shaky when taking pictures, especially ones that are zoomed in close.

Using cutting-edge insight, they developed a prototype of…. A stick. Well, a collapsible stick with a grip.

My camera has so many technological features in an effort to allow me to take the best photos possible. That sticks helps me more than half of those features, because I can brace the stand on the ground and adjust it as I need it.

The ease of use is mirrored in the ease of looking like an idiot though.

These moments can come when you have the strap around your neck and your friends call out to you from the stands. Then you wave back with the monopod, which it attached to the camera, which is attached to the strap around your neck. Now, you’re trying to choke yourself instead of saying hello. I’m sure nobody noticed when I did this Thursday... Surely.

They also come when a volleyball comes flying at you in the viewfinder so you jolt back and realize it landed near you. Trying to be helpful, you lean down to pick up the ball but realize you’re now swinging a camera on a pole because you didn’t put it down first.

I can’t fake that nobody saw this Saturday morning because the score tracker said she would go for the ball if it ended up there again.

Chalk that up to user error. In practice, the monopod has made photography even more enjoyable and manageable.

It highlights that some of our best “technology” is also our simplest.

Gaudette is the managing editor at the Dublin Citizen and can be reached at 445-2515 and report@dublincitizen.com .

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